"Public, cooperative, and social housing providers are faced with two major challenges at the moment - to bring renovation or new supply to the fore and to see what units are available for Ukrainians arriving in the EU," Housing Europe's Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards said at the start of the CEER Customer Conference “Survival 101! Energy Price Spikes and the Green Transition – Empowering Consumers” held on March, 23rd in Brussels.
Today, social and affordable housing providers work on different levels when it comes to decarbonisation. At a more urgent entry point, they team up with social services, cities to help people without an agency to understand their bills and have immediate energy poverty alleviation. An excellent example of this kind of mobilisation is the EU-funded project, POWERPOOR in which social housing providers are playing a key role.
At an energy-efficiency level, where the sector has the biggest expertise, renovating 200,000 units a year, social housing providers work on Opengela, another valuable initiative funded by Horizon 2020 that is run by the Basque local authorities, providing one-stop-shops, so that people can access trusted information.
"The EU framework offers a lot, but there is also a lot to be improved at a local level in terms of tax rules," Sorcha Edwards said, giving the example of Flemish social housing providers who rolled out 650,000 PVs and saw the incentive structure changed halfway through. She further added that the funding linked to regulatory structures is key: "We are looking at renovation bills of EUR80,000 per unit that are hard to treat in social housing, going up to EUR120,000 for moves to get off-grid. We need a realistic look at the cost and to ensure funding is able to square that."
Our Secretary-General also touched upon the set-up of the Social Climate Fund which if we want to be a relevant tool, has to ensure a tight circuit, quickly investing Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) revenues to improve conditions.
You can watch the recording here.